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P&O Cruises VIP day feedback thread. Non-attendees: tell P&O Cruises about your ideal cruise - £250 voucher prize draw! NOW CLOSED

(133 Posts)
MichelleMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 30-Aug-13 16:27:04

This thread is for the 6 Mumsnetters who attended the VIP day on P&O Cruises' family friendly ship, Azura. Hope you all had a wonderful time!

If you didn't attend the VIP day you can still get involved by telling P&O Cruises about your perfect family friendly cruise holiday. Where in the world would you sail? What facilities would you like to see on board? What activities would you, and your DCs, like to be able to get involved in while on board?

Everyone who shares their thoughts on this thread will be entered into a prize draw to win a £250 Love2Shop voucher.

VIP attendees:

We have a few questions we'd like you to answer, but please add any other comments you may have.

- What was your and your family's, overall experience of your day on-board Azura?

- Were you surprised by anything you found, or didn't find, on board?

- What were your/your DCs highlights of the day?

- What did your DCs think of the facilities on-board?

- After your experience on Azura, would you consider going on a cruise for a family holiday? If so, why? If not, why not?

- Overall, if it came up in conversation, would you recommend going on a cruise to your friends and family? If so, why? If not, why not?

If you have any photos you took on the day please do upload them onto this thread, we'd love to see them! Please note that P&O Cruises may use these pictures on their facebook page, website or any other marketing material.

Thanks and good luck with the prize draw!


flamingtoaster Mon 02-Sep-13 17:19:00

First priority for my perfect cruise would be an extremely stable ship - preferably sailing through relatively calm waters. That established then the ship would call at interesting places and while on board there would be activities for all the family to do - swimming, bowling, maybe the chance to learn different kinds of dancing, or try to paint a harbour/seascape with the help of an art teacher etc.

LadyMilfordHaven Mon 02-Sep-13 18:19:50

I'm not convinced there is much for teens on a cruise. Plus the other people would probably annoy md

bluebump Mon 02-Sep-13 18:47:08

Non tester.

I have been on two cruises, a Disney one when I was 14 (!) and one when I was 18 - both with my cousins and my grandparents. They were actually more fun that it sounds! They were however on very small ships, the Pont Aven we travelled to Spain on a few years ago was bigger than both cruise ships!

If I was to have a perfect cruise now they would be on a big ship where I don't feel too much movement (I get seasick), they would have plenty of interesting places to visit (Europe in particular) and would have a good variety of things to do on board for both adults and children. We had 1 day at sea on our cruise round the med and that was more than enough because the ship was small so ideally only one day at sea or enough to do on board that you don't mind getting off the ship.

mrscumberbatch Mon 02-Sep-13 18:51:24

The best family friendly cruise for me would be a trip around Europe. Stopping in France, Spain, Catalonia, Germany.... So many yummy foods and interesting places to investigate.

Facilities on board that would be excellent would be a swimming pool with slides, tennis court with coaches for little people to learn with, a soft play area, lots of outdoor family games like quoits, hopscotch, boules etc and friendly down to earth staff who like to get involved with kids activities!

Anthracite Mon 02-Sep-13 18:52:22

Brilliant, LMH, and you put yourself forward for this promotion with an obvious negative attitude and then didn't pursue it.

TheSkiingGardener Mon 02-Sep-13 19:29:56

Personally I like at least one sea day between each port. Time to relax, swim, spa, read, hen a port, then time to chill again. Nowadays we end up staying on the ship for a port or two as the itineraries are all port port port.

frostymomma Mon 02-Sep-13 19:39:10

We didn't apply for this, as we've been on a few cruises with P&O before. The things we loved were the kids clubs and night nursery facility. As others have said, there's nothing better than putting the kids to bed, knowing they are safe and you have a buzzer in case they wake and can't be re-settled, and then taking your time getting dressed up and going for a delicious meal/night out with DH. The ability to spend quality time together was an absolute winner for us.

The DCs couldn't get enough of the kids club when we sailed on Ventura - it was all fairly newly kitted out at the time - but I have to say they were disappointed when we sailed on Oceana (mid-sized ship)earlier this year - a bit shabby, not much space and what seemed to be mainly lower key activities (drawing, reading, watching tv every day). Maybe this was because they were understaffed (sickness apparently --or trying to get their moneysworth out of the staff--), but either way, it didn't meet the high expectations we had from previously. It was closed some mornings and we were turned away on a couple of other occasions because they were full. Didn't completely spoil the holiday, but left a bad taste.

We found the shops (or what they stocked) were very geared up to the older clientele eg. the type of jewellery, clothes, etc. I got quite excited one night when I found out there was a Radley handbag sale, only to turn up and find they were all really untrendy ones. My nan would have loved them though ;-). Please give us something to spend our holiday spends on P&O.

Ideal places for us would have to be more far-flung and unusual, like Asia, some parts of Africa, South America, although I think only one of P&Os 'family-friendly' ships go there. However, I really like not having to fly and being able to take as much luggage as will fit in your cabin when sailing from Southampton (although the mule DH would disagree), which probably wouldn't be possible with further afield destinations.

My final plea to P&O is to make the cabins more family friendly in terms of layout. We are a family of 4. We tend to go in an inside/outside cabin as balcony cabins are very pricey. If there were a way of keeping the double bed as well as having 2 singles (whether bunks or not), we would be delighted. I'm not fussed about having a separate bedroom for the kids, but if there were some kind of partition, that would be fab ...not that we're planning any how's yer father - more so we don't all wake each other up in the night/morning. When DS was in a cot, we stuck him in the walk-in wardrobe on Ventura (not as cruel as it sounds if you see the room layout) and that worked well.

All in all, P&O, love what you are trying to do. Hope the family-focussed marketing is working for you. It would be great to see more similar aged families on boards in future.

LadyMilfordHaven Mon 02-Sep-13 19:47:47

i think the point was to show people not convinced about it.
ANyway I gave PLENTY of time in my apology as Michelle said earlier. They chose not to replace me.

MrsJaqenHgar Mon 02-Sep-13 19:58:15

I didn't apply because I'm too far away to get to Southampton easily.

However, I am cruising on Ventura (Azura's sister ship) next month. This will be our first cruise with DC but DP and I have cruised before (Celebrity). We chose P&O this time because my parents have sailed ith them several times so they didn't feel like an unknown quantity and they appear to be considered one of the most child friendly cruise lines. It's good to read about other posters who have used the night nursery facility and liked it as I found this particularly appealing about P&O ships.

As for my ideal cruise, it would take in the Greek Islands, Italy and Croatia...maybe next year smile

maggiemou Mon 02-Sep-13 20:59:05

We cruised twice with our oldest daughter when she was coming up to 1, and we found it was an ideal holiday - so much space for her to toddle around in, so much to do for us, great facilities for her age, and we didn't have to fly (first cruise was a mini cruise to Guernsey and Holland, second was a much longer cruise to Ireland, Iceland and Norway) - would love to go on another cruise, but finances sadly say no right now as we now have 4 children, and it's just too expensive (though Azura and Ventura do have a couple of family friendly cabins that sleep 6, but they charge adult prices for the 1st 4 people in it!!!). In an ideal world, I'd love to take them on a cruise through the Mediterranean, or the fjords again - on a ship with daytime activities that would appeal to them all (craft, science, football, films), giving us the opportunity to have some time for us to just sit and have coffee and watch the world go by without constant kiddy-interruptions! I'd also like a nanny service/night nursery for all of them for one or 2 nights (they are 4-9yo) so that we can have dinner once or twice as a couple!!

Off to look at the cruise websites now!! smile

4yoniD Mon 02-Sep-13 21:23:37

my "perfect family friendly cruise holiday" would start with a good cabin - a suite with a bedroom and sofa bed - at a reasonable price. Something I've really struggled to find. Having young children I don't want to share a one room cabin and have to go to bed at 8pm, and I also don't want to try and sleep in those drop-down bunkbeds (too easy to imagine someone falling out, probably me).

Where in the world would I sail? Actually I'm not too fussed. Norway or Alaska would be ace, but also anything leaving from Southampton would be considered. I'd rather not fly - one of the bonuses of going by cruiser is that you don't have to entertain the kids on the plane.

What facilities would I like to see on board? Kids' clubs for my kids ages (5 and 2 now, so would be 6 and 3 for my next holiday). A swimming pool would be a must. A little spray/splash area would be a huge bonus (like Muddy Puddles at Paultons) but possibly not the demand for it on most cruise ships. Then the normal selection of places to eat, drink, be entertained and sit out which are on all cruisers afaik.

What activities would you, and your DCs, like to be able to get involved in while on board? At their age they aren't fussed. Something 'themed' would probably be a bonus - disney etc - but they will take whatever they can get!

By the way of background, I have cruised a couple of times pre-children, but cruises just don't seem to cater to families - mainly the cabin situation, but also questions over putting them on taxis/buses etc at the destination (re: car seats).

Cherrygrape Mon 02-Sep-13 21:35:22

I don't think I have an ideal place, as long as its warm. I'd like to see parts of chille or Scandinavia if the weather was warm enough.
I'd love swimming pools, organised sports for all ages, quiet areas, a library, play areas, and spa. I saw an advert once for something that looked like surfing on deck, that looked fun smile our family would get involved with anything active.
It's a shame it is so expensive in school holidays.

Cherrygrape Mon 02-Sep-13 21:40:51

Oops I meant to write : I don't have an ideal place, but if I had to choose somewhere that would interest me id like to see Chile or Scandinavia.

MakeTeaNotWar Mon 02-Sep-13 21:45:31

We've never been on a cruise but these reviews and ideas make it sounds great. I'd have never thought of it before but w night nursery is genius. As long as there were kids clubs with safe pools, not too crowded and decent, healthy food options, I'd be happy. I'd love to sail around the Caribbean!

ladygoingGaga Mon 02-Sep-13 21:55:33

Can't actually believe people didnt turn up confused
I would love to cruise the Mediterranean, but alternative locations, my son is currently fascinated with World war 2, so any stops that included well known locations would be great, combined with the sun too!

Facilities important to me would be activities we could do together, trying things together, perhaps sessions aimed specifically in trying new activities. Something like climbing walls, creative arts, cake decorating, zumba, anything!
The idea of kids clubs is great, but more than just drawing and watching tv please.

hermioneweasley Mon 02-Sep-13 22:02:21

I didn't get to go, but I think cruising is perfect for families if the facilities are right, so wanted to chip in.

Where - short haul options for young familes. Europe offers some really varied ports of call with lots to do.

What facilities? - boarding is always painful. There must be some ways to improve it. Even a table of colouring etc supervised by someone from the ship's kids club while the grown ups queue woukd make it marginally less painful.

Needs to have lots of places where kids can play, and their parents can be with them. Lots of ships have amazing kids clubs now, but I don't want to leave my kids. Playgrounds, games rooms including video games, "soft play" type places, ping pong, table football, castles/play houses, library, kids' cinema would all be very welcome. A kids pool with shallow end would be great, and the Carnival Waterworks is brilliant. - how a water park should be.

I want my newsletter for the next day to tell me about shuttles from the ship into the portfolio call - how often they go, where they stop and how much they cost please!

I like the poolside movies with non kids films in the evenings (kids screens during the day). Also, some shady options would be good for young families who want to be on deck, but not in the blazing sun. Films in your cabin and a DVD player in cabin would also be good.

Cabins - having more that can sleep 4 and more adjoining rooms.

Food - having stuff available all day is important - just pizza, sandwiches etc. Self serve ice cream and frozen yoghurt as well please! For other food, lots of variety, lots of informal options, flexible dining room times and tables you don't have to share. chocolate is important too! Again, Carnival do this really well - perfect template IMO.

What activities for adults and kids?

I don't need activities. If there are the above facilities for kids, I don't think activities are necessary, but I guess some organised games, competitions etc could be fun.

sharond101 Mon 02-Sep-13 22:02:26

My perfect cruise would be somewhere warm and some morning exercise so I don't feel so guilty sitting around in the sunshine all day. I'd like a personal trainer included for this for motivation. Some treatments included in your all inclusive cost as well as a daily massage. For the children lots of organised activities with energetic play too. Swimming lessons would be good.

hermioneweasley Mon 02-Sep-13 22:03:48


Try Carnival for family friendly cruises and try bubble bum inflatable car seats for easy transport options!

skyeskyeskye Mon 02-Sep-13 23:08:04

Non selected, but cruises I would like would be anywhere as long as I don't have to fly to get there first.

Nice size cabins would be good with double and bunk beds, adjoining suited would be good too.

Plenty if entertainment for the kids, good pool, sounds like all of these things are what people want from a cruise.

I think that cruises used to be thought of as being for posh people or retired people, and no kids allowed, but times have changed and things are a lot more relaxed nowadays. I have family who have been on several cruises and love it.

Non tester here, but been on first cruise with 9 and 7 year old children this year. Royal Caribbean Intl.

Best destinations - those reachable from Southampton as we live close by and prefer not to fly.

Cabins - interconnecting worked brilliantly for us.

Our children went on 4 ship organised excursions with us and although they were expensive they were very well organised, no queuing anywhere, very good tour guides.

I couldn't fault embarkation/disembarkation at Southampton, especially the latter, we got up, had breakfast and were in the car driving home within an hour.

Kids club was great, but we didn't use (and wouldn't in future) the late night one, we enjoyed dinner with the DCs, then a couple of hours on our own before picking them up at 10 and going for a hot chocolate and all back yo the cabins together.

Other things I would like - better shops, they were naff and expensive. More basics for stuff you've forgotten on sale.

Also liked shows, quiz nights etc. Didn't try any learning activities (art etc).

No interest in spa, gym or casino for any of us, or the sales of art etc.

What we loved was how easy if all was, far better than flying, seeing so many places so easily.

AFishWithoutABicycle Tue 03-Sep-13 08:20:25

I did not attend the VIP day but here my ideal family cruise.

I would like to go on a cruise to somewhere like South America. The ship would serve as the ideal base for lots of swimming and fun activities. It would allow us to see some exotic sights without having the issues related to over land travel, such as being in bus for hours with young kids.
I'd like it to be aimed at family's but still have decent food/entertainment for adults. I'd also like it to be good value for money.

maximum4 Tue 03-Sep-13 10:21:04

I didn't attend the VIP day although would have loved to...
However, I have been lucky enough to go on two cruises; one with my mother (without the children) this opportunity totally opened my eyes to cruising and the second time I took my DD 6 - with myself and my mother. We had a totally awesome trip and I am so wishing we could all go as a family. There is too much to write about but suffice to say we have now cruised with Thomson and Royal Caribbean (3 star and 5star respectively IMHO) but I preferred the Thomson ship and staff, much more friendly and relaxed. I am now a cruise convert and look forward to a P & O cruise in the future x

I should just add to my comments above that our first cruise was so far from our usual type of holiday (camping/self-catering in the UK) that I was prepared to hate it, I thought I would be bored stiff on sea days, but it was great, the DCs spent more time in the kids club than I anticipated as they loved it and we just relaxed on loungers (in the shade) reading books. It really was a best of both worlds, lots of sightseeing and lots of relaxation. I got a bit tired of restaurant food towards the end though, it was a 14 nighter and I have never gone more than a long weekend non self-catered before.

AllSWornOut Tue 03-Sep-13 13:42:25

Our ideal cruise would be somewhere with fantastic scenery and interesting activity-type stops, not too much city visiting. Scotland and the Isles or Norway would be perfect for us, and i didn't realise such big ships did those places.

I guess my main must have would be an evening kids club/babysitting service as well as interesting, good (not canteen/buffet) food.

And sea sick pills... envy <- my face on the cruises channel ferries.

CelticPromise Tue 03-Sep-13 16:16:56

My ideal cruise would be around islands/spectacular scenery. I'd like to be somewhere where being on a boat was necessary to see the places, not just for the sake of being on a boat. I think I'd get bored with that after a few days.

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